I didn’t really think my ability to properly apply oil to my body – or a body in general- was a marketable skill, but apparently, it is. At least, to my child.
CURRICULUM VITAE: DIANE AKO
2007- present: Mother (On call 24/7)
Excellent at applying oil to freshly washed skin.
Achievements & Accolades:
Hug and kiss after every oil rub. Declaration of being Best Mommy in World.
I started doing this after taking a yoga teacher training course, in which instructor Amanda Webster introduced us to the health benefits of Ayurveda. (It’s the Chinese medicine equivalent for India.) Oiling the skin after a shower hydrates the dermis.
When Olivia saw me doing this to myself after a shower, she wanted to copy me, thus another ritual was born. At first, I let her do it herself, but she had a heavy hand with the bottle and emerged looking like Tonga’s Olympic flag bearer.
“Honey. Just a little bit is all you need,” I demonstrated, and did it for her the next time.
This, in Pavlovian terms, is the point in which the conditioning is set. Oil = Mommy’s attention. It’s now been two years.
When we tell her to shower, she looks at me and says, “Oil?” in her cutest voice with her biggest eyes. She likes me to sit and talk to her while she showers, and then come in with the oil bottle after. Most times, I oblige, just because I figure one day soon she will be just the opposite of this: A surly teen.
The other night, I was engrossed in a book and did not want to acquiesce. “I think you can do it yourself,” I replied absently.
“Awww. But you do it so much better than I do,” she complained.
The ridiculousness of that statement made me stop reading and put the book down. “Yes. I am good at putting oil on my body, but if you practice, you will one day be as good as me,” I said, suppressing a laugh.
Mommy = Oil Application World Champion
“But I want you to do it for me,” she persisted.
“I know you do, but I think we can all learn to put oil on our own selves,” I encouraged.
She left for the bathroom, and I presently followed. (See: sixth graph about pre-teen affection.)
Yes, I gave in. I suppose it’s only fair to clarify that I’m the one who is classically conditioned to dole out the oil rubs.